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Surprises and snubs are just part of the drama

Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchett earn unexpected nods while Angelina Jolie is left off the list.

January 23, 2008|Chris Lee | Times Staff Writer

The shocker Tuesday wasn't that Oscar winners Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchett were once again in the running for Academy Awards. In a year marked by more than a few out-of-left field honorees and a handful of notable omissions, however, the films responsible for Jones and Blanchett's nominations caught Oscar watchers by surprise.

Most Hollywood handicappers had put the smart money on Jones scoring a nomination for his high-profile supporting turn in "No Country for Old Men," one of the year's best-reviewed films. But the craggy Texan -- one of the movie's titular country-less aging citizens -- ended up landing his Oscar honor for lead actor in "In the Valley of Elah," writer-director Paul Haggis' crime-drama, which took in less than $7 million at the box office. In that film, Jones stars as a Vietnam vet who goes searching for his son after the young man disappears upon returning home from a tour of duty in Iraq.

Marketers for Todd Haynes' Bob Dylan biopic "I'm Not There" can be happy that Blanchett's supporting performance as the folk rock icon was recognized after numerous "For your consideration" trade paper ads. But her lead actress nomination arrived out of the blue, courtesy of the comparatively buzz-less costume drama, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," a sequel to the historical drama responsible for originally cementing the Australian actress' star status.

Oscar prognostication concerning the Ridley Scott-directed crime epic "American Gangster," meanwhile, remained focused around Denzel Washington's showboating performance as Frank Lucas, a real-life '70s New York drug kingpin and killerInstead, it was 83-year-old Ruby Dee as Lucas' mother who landed a supporting actress nod. Her brief, scene-stealing appearance in a relatively minor character part resulted in "American Gangster's" lone Oscar nomination.

Then there were the snubs.

Chief among those notably empty-handed this year: Angelina Jolie, who portrays real-life author Mariane Pearl, the crusading widow of the Wall Street Journal reporter slain by terrorists in "A Mighty Heart." Likewise, many observers expected Christian Bale, playing an escaped POW in Werner Herzog's "Rescue Dawn," to land a nomination, but it never materialized.

Tim Burton had been widely touted but failed to generate academy support for directing "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" even though he was nominated for a Golden Globe and picked up a number of critics' awards for his gore-spattered adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Broadway musical. And Eddie Vedder's Golden Globe win for his song "Guaranteed" from "Into the Wild" failed to yield an Oscar nomination for the Pearl Jam frontman in a category dominated by three original song entries from the Disney flick "Enchanted."





Readers cite snubs

Who got snubbed? Readers weighed in on Oscar's oversights at's message board. Excerpts are part of a new feature highlighting comments of online users:

Talk about whoa! Angelina Jolie snubbed! I knew Brad Pitt wasn't going to be nominated, but I thought Hollywood would honor her for "A Mighty Heart." Whoa!

-- Submitted by cerobinson

The biggest snub for me is Ms. Amy Adams for "Enchanted." . . . Academy has no guts to give a nomination to Disney's princess. Booo Academy!

-- Submitted by Paul

Huge huge all-round snub: "The Darjeeling Limited." -- Submitted by Michael Corbiere

Paul Dano for "There Will Be Blood" was really overlooked by everyone. His performance was amazing.

-- Submitted by mike ethan

Chris Cooper ("Breach"). Film was released too early for Oscar voters I guess.

-- Submitted by bubbawine

Depp nominated again? what a yawn.

-- Submitted by Ed Santa Fe

Tim Burton. Snub snub snub. When will the Academy get over dissing him?

-- Submitted by KIC

"Into the Wild" got snubbed by half-witted snobs.

-- Submitted by Matt

"3:10 to Yuma" warranted some consideration -- as entertaining as any movie in 2007. -- Submitted by Grandpa

I can't believe "The Simpsons Movie" didn't get a nod.

-- Submitted by Adam

How about "300" for visual effects?

-- Submitted by evan

Did the Oscar folks just not see "American Gangster"??? An absolute travesty!

-- Submitted by AB

Todd Haynes. "I'm Not There" will be remembered and discussed long after any of the films nominated in either best picture, director, or screenplay.

-- Submitted by Mr. Jones

"Ratatouille" -- only the best-reviewed film of the year.

-- Submitted by SFesq

The biggest snub was twofold for me, Andy Griffith for "Waitress" and the closing credit song "Anyone Else But You" by the Moldy Peaches for "Juno."

-- Submitted by Jerry in Gladstone, Ore.

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